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Air Force releases bomber plans

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posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 02:22 PM
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The Air Force will not be able to expand their bomber fleet when the B-21 comes online in the early 2030s, so with the FY19 budget request, the Air Force is revealing their plans for the future of the bomber fleet. Starting in the early 2030s both the B-1 and B-2 will be retired as the B-21 is going operational. Currently they are eyeing a fleet of 175 aircraft, of which 75 would be B-52s. The B-52 will be retained due to the relatively low maintenance costs, and the ability to carry the LRSO missile. The B-1 is barred from carrying cruise missiles, and the B-2 fleet is too small to be cost effective. They're currently eyeing no later than 2032 for the B-2, and 2036 for the B-1.

The Air Force is expected to release the Bomber Vector paper on Monday with the FY19 budget request. It was previously called the Bomber Roadmap and includes plans to phase in the B-21, as well as phasing out older bombers, and upgrading the B-52s. Keeping both the B-1 and B-2 around until 2050 would cost $38.5B, while keeping the B-52 around until then would cost $22B. Some of the B-52 costs will be offset by the savings from giving them new engines, which will be part of the FY19 request. The money saved from the other two will go to modernizing the B-52 and upgrading facilities to be capable of handling the B-21.


With the Fiscal 2019 budget request, the Air Force is beginning an overhaul of its bomber fleet, planning to extend the B-52 beyond 90 years of service while retiring its younger B-1s and B-2s earlier than planned, in the early 2030s, as it brings on stealthy new B-21 aircraft. The Air Force is eyeing a bomber fleet of roughly 175 aircraft overall, although service officials said that number could go up with more generous budgets.

The younger bombers would be retired early because the Air Force believes it must live with a bomber enterprise manpower footprint that is not much larger than it is now, meaning the new B-21 must replace—and not be additive to—much of the existing bomber fleet.

The Air Force had previously planned to operate the B-1 and B-52 until 2040, and the B-2 to 2058.

www.airforcemag.com...




posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 02:44 PM
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B52...

Giving new meaning to the word "legacy".

But, y'know, if it ain't broken, why fix it?



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 02:46 PM
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a reply to: seagull

It'll be interesting to see the new engines go forward. Some interesting things have come out that I didn't know about the design when talking about giving them new engines. I'm going to be sad to see the TF33s finally gone completely though. I love that whine.



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 02:47 PM
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I'm not surprised by this at all. The Hi-Lo mix seems to work if you can actually do it. and sometimes in the case of the B-52 you simply get things right and the airframe is a keeper.

That being said as with the F-35 the rosy projections are based on IF and only if the deliver the B-21 in much greater numbers than 20 and assuming they stay remotely close to the projected costs.

Otherwise in 2036 we might be right back where we started from. a small B-21 force that expensive and we are reluctant to deploy because the loss of one reduces the force by 5% and an modernized but unable to fly in any sort fo threat environment in the BUFF's



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 02:48 PM
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a reply to: FredT

That's one reason they're going with fixed price on the procurement. The EMD phase will be cost plus through at least the first LRIP, but once they get rolling on production they're going to fixed price.



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 03:03 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Will it still be 8 engines, or will it go to four? Seems with four, they'd need to redesign the wing, at least somewhat... Being nothing resembling an aeronautical engineer, I've no clue.



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 03:20 PM
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a reply to: seagull

They can't go to four. The big problem is that it would cause major fatigue issues to the wing and center wing box, including cracks. The other, and this is huge, the rudder as it is now, is actually insufficient for certification. It would have never passed CDR, let alone fly if it had been designed more recently. If you go to four, the rudder would become totally ineffective.

The plan is to go to a business jet sized engine, possibly the same as used in the A-10, that has a similar thrust and dry weight as the TF33. That would require minimal redesign to the cowling and mounts, and do a 1:1 swap out.
edit on 2/11/2018 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 03:21 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

So hard to imagine a military jet flying for 100 years.
My ex father in law was an engine mechanic on B52's during Vietnam.
Stationed in Michigan for the nuke fleet.



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 03:30 PM
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a reply to: Bluntone22



He must have been at Wurtsmith in Oscoda it's not too far from my cabin.




posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 03:38 PM
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a reply to: mikell

You nailed it



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 03:43 PM
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a reply to: Bluntone22

My late uncle was a tail gunner aboard one when they first rolled out. Now you've got sons flying the planes their dads flew, soon it'll be, if it's not already, grandkids.

Amazing.



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 03:44 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Damnit. I thought you meant the "Plans". So we could get to work building one.




posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 03:45 PM
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a reply to: seagull

It is. There are at least two families that I've heard of that have three generations of B-52 pilots.



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 03:54 PM
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B-52.
Bingo!



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 04:53 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Zaphod58 I have a question regarding the SR-72, which is a little off topic but I'm asking you here since I cannot start a topic.

Have you heard anything new on the SR-72? It appears it might be close to testing.

I was lucky enough to be up and close, hands on a SR-71 at Eglin AFB, and that was something to see.

It took nice imagery too.

Here is the latest article I could find:
www.stripes.com...
edit on 11-2-2018 by lunarcartographer because: (no reason given)

edit on 11-2-2018 by lunarcartographer because: spelling



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 04:56 PM
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a reply to: lunarcartographer

They're still trying to get the engines to work. They've been trying for several years to get a TBCC design to work. They came close with an RBCC, but this is some serious tech and it's fighting back.
edit on 2/11/2018 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 05:02 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Thanks Zaphod, I hope it is solved soon. It has advantages/disadvantages over satellites recon imagery. The SR-72 platform will be a very nice option to have available in certain situations.
edit on 11-2-2018 by lunarcartographer because: add

edit on 11-2-2018 by lunarcartographer because: spelling



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 05:22 PM
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a reply to: lunarcartographer

They'll get there. This is going from driving a Chevy Corvette, to driving a Formula One car. They'll figure it out in the long run.



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 05:50 PM
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It's good to know that the "Love Shack" will keep flying.



posted on Feb, 11 2018 @ 05:56 PM
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a reply to: Springer

There was a meme floating around that had a B-2 on the ground, with a B-52 photoshopped in that said something like, "In 2060 the retirement ceremony for the last B-2 gets interrupted". The date is off, but someone has a pretty good crystal ball.

ETA: Here it is.


edit on 2/11/2018 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



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